AT&T Introduces Pro-Rated Termination Fees

It’s finally official: as of May 25th, AT&T will join the ranks of the pro-rating carrier crowd (which so far just includes Verizon) and start reducing their early termination fees (ETFs) by $5 per month on both one and two-year contracts. This only applies to new customers and those renewing contracts on or after May 25th, so if you can, try to hold off on entering into a contract with AT&T for the next two months. What up, Sprint and T-Mobile? Why is it taking so long for you to pro-rate your ETFs? We guess you’re too busy going out of business and suing creation, respectively.

“AT&T to pro-rate early termination fee” [Seattle PI]

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  1. Snowblind says:

    April fools?

  2. Pro-Pain says:

    I can assure you that Sprint isn’t going out of business anytime soon.

  3. Bladefist says:

    Sprint in in other markets, so no matter how badly their wireless does, the money from the other markets can sustain them.

  4. JustAGuy2 says:

    @Bladefist-안녕:

    Not any more – the other businesses were spun off into Embarq. Sprint=wireless.

  5. iEddie says:

    I see why they’re not adjusting current contracts – it’d give people a get-out-of-contract-free card, even though the chance is beneficial. And, of course, typical corporate greediness.

  6. JustaConsumer says:

    Do yourself a favor. Drop AT&T as soon as possible.

  7. JustaConsumer says:

    Can I vote for them for worst company?

  8. Bodgy says:

    This is gong to be great for the CSRs who are already math challenged. Hopefully their billing system, Telegence, will pro rate for them. Otherwise, good luck with that.

  9. Bladefist says:

    @JustAGuy2: a quick google search confirms what you just said. Dang. Maybe sprint should be worried. Although I do know a lot of businesses use sprint. They make a lot of deals and relationships, whereas I would guess the other vendors have more non-commercial customers. Just a guess.

  10. Daniel-Bham says:

    Verizon tried to put the screws on me last week.

    I have had a cell phone contract (2 year) from 2005 – 2007. I went on a month-to-month billing cycle. I called in to cancel one of the two lines on the phone after I was off contract in 2007. I specifically told the guy I wasn’t interested in an upgrade to my phone, that I just didn’t use the second line and wanted to cancel.

    He told me (and I double-checked) that I would continue on month-to-month billing. (This was June 2007).

    Flash-forward to last Friday, I called in to cancel the remaining phone. I was told that a $135 ETF would apply because I had accepted an ‘upgrade’ to my account in 2007.

    I told the CSR that I had no intention of paying, that I had been with them since 2005, rarely used the phone, and had never been late in nearly 3 years on any bill. I also told her that I had specifically requested not to continue on contract the previous time I’d called in, and was told that I would continue on month-to-month billing since I wasn’t upgrading my phone. She didn’t put up too much of a fight, and told me that “the system had done it automatically and I can take that off for you.” and that my final bill will be this month.

    So stand by for my story if they somehow ‘forgot’. I followed up with their online chat CSR and took screen shots to verify that I was told what I was told.

    I still think it is bullshit that a company can arbitrarily enter you into a contract without your approval. Even if it was in my original contract or in fine-print on a bill – I had explicitly asked and was told no.

  11. webwbr says:

    Maybe I’m missing something (sorryif I am), but I’m not sure if I’d call this a “pro-rate” as the balance never gets as low as it should.

    i.e. Termination fee on 24 month contract is $175… if you cancel on month #23, assuming it has been pro-rated by $5/month, my math says the termination fee would be $60 (less the $115 of 23 $5/month).

  12. iEddie says:

    @Bodgy: Hey, at least they’re not as bad as the Verizon CSRs!

  13. iEddie says:

    @JustaConsumer: I’d love to drop them, since their coverage is less than great (compared to T-Mobile which I used to have), but being an iPhone developer that uses the iPhone SDK, I need AT&T now, otherwise the tools will bitch. And I also want the 3G iPhone, whenever it comes out. I’m a fanboy :D

  14. CRNewsom says:

    @iEddie: The first step is admitting you have a problem.

  15. Anks329 says:

    so as a current customer under contract, I’m stuck without a pro-rata ETF? Yet another reason for me to jump ship as soon as I can… and vote for AT&T as the Worst Company EVAR.

  16. mikecolione says:

    @Anks329: Yea that makes sense, go to a carrier that hasn’t even announced when it will prorate cancellation fees… If you want ot switch to another carrier, you really don’t have to whine about anything, just do it.

  17. FMulder says:

    I was already — months ago — informed by At&T that my termination fee was pro-rated, I had a tendency to ask just to check when I was particularly irritated with the company.

    However, yesterday I was informed by a customer service agent that At&T will be charging to make payments via a customer service agent by phone, or in person at the store.

  18. tme2nsb says:

    @Bodgy: We have two. CARE and Telegence. And yes, it’s auto proration. Sucks that people in EXISTING contracts are not affected by this.

  19. dragonfire81 says:

    AS a former Sprint employee, I’m glad I got out of there before proration came in.

    The day the program is announced, people with a year or less left are going to be banging the doors to get out. I’m guessing Sprint is trying to delay the flood as long as possible.